The Zender kids hired me to take a family photo for their mom Patty’s birthday.  I was lucky enough to get invited to stay for one of the famous weekly Sunday dinners.  I want to try to figure out how to become an honorary member of this family.  This is a really extraordinary family.  They have collectively and individually had some big heartbreak in the last several years.  I only bring it up because sharing a night with them, I was tremendously moved by the love around that table, and how a life this rich can still continue to grow in the midst of pain.

“Rejoicing is no less rich when there is a splinter of sadness…Sweet is nice enough but bittersweet is beautiful, nuanced, full of depth and complexity.”

– Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet

Here’s to you Zenders.  Thank you for inviting me in.

Matt has taken over his dad’s role of cooking the meat.  Little Charlotte is the next up and coming chef.  She always likes to help Matt in the kitchen.

Olivia just loves here little cousin Evy.  She took her for a little walk through the yard.

I loved this little moment.  As Matt walked by his mom into the kitchen he grabbed her hand.  I could tell that this is something that they do all the time.

Brother Bobby made creme brulee










  • nancy

    you captured the “Zenderness” perfectly 🙂

  • Kristin

    Nailed it! Drying my eyes to leave a comment… Beautiful!! Thank you, my dear friend. xoxo

  • Kris

    You have a real gift – but this family is a real gift.

  • ashley

    kristin and i were together the night before and she told me about the evening coming up–i couldn’t have imagined it any better. beautiful!

  • Jim

    The Zender family and your photography!

  • Ann Hays

    What wonderful pictures. I think I want to be adopted by the Zender family. What love!

  • Your pictures always bring me to tears … and even more so when I know (and love!) the subjects! We are so blessed to know you, Becca! Thanks to all the Zenders to letting us join in the family dinners 🙂

  • Gosh. What beautiful and tender photographs. There are really too many I love a whole lot. Off the top of my head I love the family photo of the husband and wife kissing, while one of their girls is hiding her face. I LOVE the girls from behind holding hands and running–guhhhh, looks like a Sally Mann or Emmet Gowin photo. I also love the one of the girl coming over the fence to get flowers….and ALL the small moments running fingers through hair, small touches on the arms, etc. I bet this family just loves these.